Henry and David Pearson
THE Pearsons, of the Boherard Herd, believe that they have hit on the final piece of the breeding jigsaw that will consistently deliver the U and E-grade weanling.
Most of their 80 spring-calving suckler cows are red Limousin, and using a Belgian Blue bull on these cows has delivered a high proportion of U/E-grade weanlings. But in the past couple of years, they have added Parthenais (a French breed somewhere between the Limousin and Belgian Blue in terms of muscling) to the cow bloodline.
"Last season we had 10 calves from the Parthenais-cross cows and these were our 10 best weanlings," said David Pearson. "One of these calves was a champion at a show sale in Mountrath and, at 410kg, sold for €1,310. Another was champion in Roscrea.
"I found that the Parthenais-cross Limousin heifer and cow was able to calve the well-muscled offspring."
"Out of 20 calved to date we have had only one [C] section," observed David's father, Henry.
"We found that the heifers, especially those by the AI Parthenais UNI, are good for milk," he added.
The Pearsons are also impressed with the docility of the Parthenais-cross Limousin. Their plan is to use first-calving heifers to breed replacements. An easy-calving Parthenais will be used on the Limousin heifers and a Limousin will be used on the Parthenais-type heifers. Older cows will continue to be crossed with Belgian Blue bulls.